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A section from

‘A Jedi shall not know hatred, nor fear… nor love.’ from Star Wars Episode II

AMAZON (USA)

&

A1BOOKS (INDIA)LINKS

THE PRINCE OF PERSIA

 

Contents

The original Prince of Persia: Storyline # 1

The Sands and Dagger of Time: Storyline # 2 

Prince of Persia - Reboot 2008: Storyline # 3

Similarities with Robin Hood

Similarities with Conan the Cimmerian

 

The video-game 'tabloids' have a love-hate relationship with the Prince. Some can't get over his brooding appearance, others think he is over-exposed and cliched. Jordan Mechner (the creator of PoP) isn't over the moon with the direction the Prince's character is taking. Doesn't seem like the Prince is paying much attention. Last heard to have gotten hitched to Princess Tamina of Alamut, but knowing his history of liasing with numerous noble-women and sorceress' seems pretty certain that it will take more to domesticate him. Given his impulsive nature (he re-released the ancient evil-Ahriman just so that he could ask Elika out, and she turned him down!) my money is on a few more movies and video-games before he walks into that trap!

 

JOURNEYS OF THE PRINCE OF PERSIA

 

The video game has had many authors who give the prince a biography sometimes different from the previous. The changes range from minor and insignificant to an entirely different backstory. One of the developers put it clearly when he said that the title was taken as a prince of Persia and not the prince of Persia.

 

"There were hundreds of tails in Arabian Nights and this is just one of them," Ben Mattes

 

The original Prince of Persia: Storyline # 1

 

Ancient Persia was left in the hands of a proxy ruler - Jaffar (vazier to the sultan) while the Sultan himself is away in battle. The princess of Persia becomes enamoured with a strange foreigner, and this draws the wrath of Jafar upon the young man. The Vazier imprisons the foreigner, and isolates the princess on the top of a tower giving her a choice - marry Jaffar or die within the hour. The foreigner escapes and fights his way to the princess' door after battling Jaffar's cronies, death-traps, puzzles and other obstacles. There he disposes off Jaffar and unites with the princess.

 

After he is hailed as a hero, the foreigner wins the eluctant approval of the Sultan of Persia to marry the princess. But Jaffar has still not given up and takes the form of the foreigner while the real hero is made to look like a common beggar. Unrecognised in the presence of royalty as a beggar the foreigner is chased out of the palace and escapes the land by ship. Not content to have simply rid Persia of it's hero, Jaffar summons a storm and shipwrecks the foreigner onto a mysterious island. Luckily for our fearless hero, he is reunited with his powerful mother here, and learns about his past and also some crafty magic to put the evil Vazier in his place. On his return to Persia the foreigner ends the Vazier once and for all and spreads his ashes to safeguard against any more tricks. Then he rides off into the sunset with the Princess.

 

This first interpretation of the prince is closest to the Arabian Nights, and other tales of the ancient middle east (like The Thief of Baghdad) with a sensous princess, an absent king, an evil counsel, a mysterious adventurer and a tall tower to trap the princess. The simplicity of the game became an advantage as players were able to relate to the character in the way that could only be possible with open story-telling. 

 

The Sands and Dagger of Time: Storyline # 2 

 

King Shahraman of Persia is preparing to invade the territory of the Maharaja of India with the help of a traitor - the Maharaja's vazier. The Prince accompanies his father in the invasion. The Maharaja's defences are overcome and the city of Azad is sacked. The spoils of war including the Dagger and Sands of Time, and the Maharaja's daughter Princess Farah are in the victor's possession.  

 

At this point the Vazier shows his hand and tricks the Prince into releasing the Sands of Time which release all sorts of monsters, evil, wickedness and villainy. Only the Prince, Farah and the Vazier are saved from becoming zombie-like. The Prince then teams up with Farah to return the Sands of Time to it's rightfull place (the Hourglass of Time) but are trapped by the Vazier in a sub-terrainean tomb. In isolation they come to know each other and get over the fact that the Prince invaded the Princess Farah's kingdom, and with the aid of one of the most powerful tools of seduction - a common bath, they begin a romantic liason.

 

In the morning the Prince, half-awake, reaches out to Farah but finds her gone. Also missing is the Dagger of Time, which has been replaced with a medallion to keep the Prince safe. He realises that Farah is going solo to return the Sands of Time and he too escapes and  makes his way to the tower where the Hourglass of Time is located. In the final battle the Prince watches as Farah succumbs in battle with monsters, and the Prince drives the Dagger into the Hourglass of time in order to save Farah by turning back time.

 

Time is reversed to the eve before the invasion and the Prince betrays the double-crossing Vazier to Princess Farah. A duel between the Vazier and the Prince follows; and after the Vazier is returned to his maker the Prince hands over the Dagger of Time to Farah. Only the Prince is aware of the adventure that took place in the now-alternate reality universe, but gives the Princess a clue by telling her some of her own secrets that she shared with him in intimate moments. 

 

The second interpretation of the prince has been adopted by the film-makers of the 2010 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time movie. The plot of the video game was simple enough to be adapted for a movie and the film is a welcome addition to the wider genre of fantasy-adventure.

 

Prince of Persia - Reboot 2008: Storyline # 3

 

In ancient Persia, a people that go by the name the Ahura imprisoned an ancient evil and contained it within a tree. However as time passed the existence of this evil is written off as myth and is about to be unwittingly unleashed on the world. Enter the 'Prince' (Though never mentioned as royalty, the protagonist is an adventurer-nomad / fortune-hunter). By this time it seems that the Prince is well travelled, specially given his accent and attitude (a little cynical, individualistic, world-wary)

 

On his search for adventure the Prince loses his donkey in a sandstorm but comes across a damsel in distress. Playing hard-to-get, the damsel tells the prince that she doesn't need any help. This sealed the deal and the prince followed her. He fought off her pursuers with a little help from the lady's mystic powers and they get talking. She tells him her name - Elika, and that she is on her way to a temple to stop the evil from being released. This evil - Ahriman is trapped inside a tree that is housed in a temple, and she must reach the temple before her father - the Mourning King of the Ahura releases Ahriman as per the diabolical deal he made in exchange for his family's resurrection. This time she doesn't refuse the prince's company.

 

However despite reaching the temple before Ahriman is upon the human race, the duo are unable to prevent the Mourning King from releasing the Ahriman, and their only consolidation is that they have managed to escape the temple with their live intact. The next best thing they can do is contain the evil before it becomes all-powerful.

 

They must take on the four 'corrupted' who are tasked with releasing Ahriman. The four are:

The Warrior: A peaceful ruler who was driven to violence after his kingdom was surrounded by foes.

The Hunter: A former prince himself and professional nimrod seeking a more challenging chase.

The Concubine: A seductress who crosses the wrong wife and is left with a marked face.

The Alchemist: A genius who couldn't manage to unlock the secrets of life within his own lifetime.

 

The prince and Elika manage to contain the 'corrupted but are then faced with a much improved Mourning King who becomes one with Ahriman. Elika - in a kamikaze takedown, ends Ahriman and imprisons him once again. The prince is not faced with a deadly choice - live without Elika or bring her and Ahriman back. In a fit of short-term thinking that is reserved for fiction the prince brings them back, and once again the duo barely escape the ancient evil. To add insult to the prince's penury Elika abandons him to search for her own people - the Ahura 

 

Elika, according to game-developer Ben Mattes is inspired from Princess Padme (Star Wars), Arwen (LOTR) and Elizabeth Swann (Pirates of the Caribbean). To put her into perspective he described her element as air as opposed to the prince's element - earth. The Prince was based on Han Solo, Sinbad the Sailor and Aragon (LOTR). However this didn't make things easier - the new Prince has polarised popular opinion and taken the game into a new direction. Darker and less-ubiquitous character traits of the Prince relieve him of the man-of-the-people status that he enjoyed and send him into the realm of tough-to-like almost anti-villain protagonist. His interaction with Elika borders on the explicit and chauvinistic; and he is no more the reluctant saviour of the world but instead a capitalist.

 

The 2008 version of the game drew a lot of inspiration from the religion of Zoroastrianism and it's philosophies (The Ahura, the Ahriman and so on). 

 

Similarities with Robin Hood

 

The original Prince of Persia game has parallels with the legend of Robin Hood.

 

The just ruler of the land is away at battle: The Sultan of Persia is far from home fighting enemies of the state while King Richard the Lionheart is away at the crusades in the service of the Church.

 

The proxy ruler is evil: The Vazier intends to secure the throne for himself by securing the princess as his bride, and King John and the Sheriff of Nottingham rule the land with little mercy.

 

Robin hood is an ace-archer and a trickster while the Prince is a master swordsman and acrobat.

 

Differences include the absence of a primary role of a lady in the legend of Robin Hood: whereas the princess is crucial to the plot of the PoP storyline Maid Marian is simply the love interest of Robin Hood. Another difference is the altruism dominant in Robin Hood's modus operandi which is not shared by the fortune-seeking Prince.

 

Similarities with Conan the Cimmerian

 

Despite being nicknamed prince - our adventurer is more aptly described as a soldier of fortune. He is a thrill seeker who wanders from conflict to conflict. He does not seem to be of royal birth (in his 2008 adventure he travelled on a donkey across a middle-east desert), but in all his adventures he has the uncanny ability to locate the ladies in the king's family especially while they are in times of distress. The man also doesn't seem to have an altruistic bone in his constitution - he chose re-unleashing an ancient evil on the world only so that he could have a chance with Elika; and that to after going through a great deal of trouble (between 10 to 50 hours of gameplay according to the developers ;) ) to imprison it the first time (Refer 2008 PoP or see above).

 

Conan too has no ties with family, and left his hometown of Cimmeria in search of fortune. Conan moves from one city to another seeking fortune but is more hard-core than the Prince. He is a thief by profession and seems to spend his 'earnings' on wine and women. Even less charitable than our man the Prince, Conan is adept at decapitation, cruelty and orgies.

 

Also on FactBehindFiction.com

Prince of Persia

 

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A sketch of the brash Prince of Persia from the 2008 version.

 

The cover of the original video game depicting the damsel-distress, the evil vizier and the prince battling a cohort; all before the backdrop of a very ancient Persian skyline.

Kaileena - the Empress of Time from The Two Thrones.

 

A Todd McFarlane cover of a graphic novel that preceded the 2010 Film - Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. The story takes the form of a medieval inquiry and the defence put forth by the accused. 

Kaileena

Princess Tamina from the 2010 film. Her character mirrors the role of Princess Farah from the Video Game. (Below)

The Prince & Elika of the Ahura from the 2008 Video Game.

The Prince battling the Hunter.

Elika of the Ahura